The war to take Earth back begins next week. Anyone who has tried out the demo knows that the single player campaign looks and plays very tight. From the array of gameplay modes designed to fit the play-styles of the casually interested, action-oriented and the deeply invested role-players, Mass Effect 3 is set to be an epic conclusion to BioWare's space opera. More importantly, fans were treated to a glimpse of the multiplayer experience, a first time for the sci-fi franchise.
Much like the single player campaign, customization is the name of the game. You can select from a variety of classes, create and customize your own characters and take them into the vast universe of Mass Effect. The demo was relatively small, giving players the chance to explore just two maps, but in terms of gameplay, BioWare have really crafted something akin to the third-person action of Gears of War, and objective, wave-based survival.
Up to four players can squad up to take on the waves of Cerberus, and presumably wider variety of enemies in the full release. Objectives change each round, ranging from pure survival to objective-based modes such as Siege and even Assassination. Eleven rounds were available for play, with the last one having players tough it out in an Extraction mode, where staying alive for the last remaining minutes was of utmost importance.
There are a lot of customization options available. Each class will have their respective general stats, as well as unique attributes, that can be upgraded from points earned from levelling up. Picking an attribute will expand it into a deeper ability tree, where players can define the dominant role their characters take. Eventually, you'll have to choose specific abilities while forfeiting another. Choice has always been a consequential aspect to Mass Effect, so it's no surprise that even the multiplayer reflects that, and thankfully so.
Each class has a set of skills unique to them, as well as heavy melee attacks. I've said that customization is key, and it is in terms of skills as well. Skills can be combined to create bigger, badder ones. Biotics can throw, pardon the pun, together their biotic powers to explosive effect. A great way to get some crowd control in when the Soldier runs out of grenades. Melees are also a new highlight of Mass Effect 3. Hand-to-hand attacks can be strung together to keep an enemy that got in too close staggered, while holding down the melee button will trigger a flashy heavy melee attack, which is unique to each class. Soldiers perform a forceful stab of their omniblade while Vanguards will toss up a Hadoken; Sentinels dual-wield omniblades and Biotics unleash a wave of biotic force around them.
Weapons modification makes a return, although in a much more visual and streamlined manner. Weapons and mods can be acquired by purchasing a variety of packages from the shop with in-game currency earned from, well, playing the game. Each weapon type can be equipped with mods that upgrade or complement ammo types, weapon sights and the like. Weapons also have higher tiered versions of themselves that can be acquired.
It's also great that players aren't restricted to a single character, and can make multiple ones to better fit a team composition when the need arises. Switching between characters is a simple and self-explanatory affair. I kid you not. Just hit the Change Character button. In any case, the co-op multiplayer experience is certainly an addicting one, and that's just based on the demo alone. The full release is said to complement the story, but of course without being anything essential, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
We're currently giving away a Mass Effect 3 Colletor's Edition, along with some t-shirts. Go here to find more - competition available to anyone in the world!